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Information about West Norwood Cemetery and the Heritage Lottery Fund

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. West Norwood Cemetery

West Norwood Cemetery is a very significant Grade II* listed site on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. it has 69 listed structures with 20 listed ‘at risk’ by English Heritage, including the historic Gothic catacombs.

Founded in 1837, the South Metropolitan Cemetery, as it is still officially known, was laid out in a garden or pleasure ground style to the design of William Tite.

It soon became the most fashionable cemetery in south London and was known as the “Millionaire’s Cemetery” because of the number and quality of the memorials and mausolea, a significant number of which are Listed, it contained in addition to being the last resting place of many Lambethans.

Norwood Cemetery was the second of London’s ‘magnificent seven’ extra-mural cemeteries and was the first in the world built entirely in the Gothic style.

Now located in a densely populated part of the borough that lacks greenspaces, it offers a vast, peaceful resource that needs to be conserved.

2. A New Beginning Project

HLF Parks for People Grant

Lambeth Council have been awarded a Development Phase grant of £241,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to work in partnership with the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery (FoWNC), local residents, and other stakeholders to develop proposals to restore and improve Norwood Cemetery for future generations.

For an increasingly urban population, parks and cemeteries are often the only green space where people can meet, relax and come close to nature.

Parks for People funding helps to conserve the heritage that makes historic parks and cemeteries special, and it gives local people a say in how they are managed. Projects improve people’s wellbeing and knowledge of their area, and make communities better places to live, work and visit.

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The Project

During the Development Phase, we will be developing a Bid to secure £7million investment in the cemetery, which will protect this significant cemetery and landscape and allow greater access to the site’s rich heritage.

The bid will include proposals to:

  • Produce Conservation and Management Plans to help manage and maintain the cemetery for the future;
  • Produce a Master plan for the cemetery;
  • Repair and restore historically-significant memorials that have been identified as ‘At Risk’ by Historic England and require urgent repair and conservation (The Project Team are seeking to fully engage with relatives and/or owners);
  • Increase and expand visitor and volunteering activities and opportunities;
  • Improve visitor and volunteering facilities on site; and
  • Improve accessibility.

The cemetery will continue to operate as normal. All works will be carried out with the utmost sensitivity and respect. The Project Team will work closely with Bereavement Services to ensure minimal disruption to grave owners and cemetery visitors.

Through the restoration programme, we’re aiming to re-establish Norwood Cemetery as a world class heritage site, by building on its historical importance and delivering a heritage facility of regional, national and international significance.

Project Timetable

  • 2016 - Lambeth Council awarded a grant to develop the proposed project
  • 2017/2018 – Development Phase: Development of proposals and Public consultation
  • 2018 – Funding application (bid) submitted to the HLF
  • 2019 and beyond - If successful, the improvement and conservation works start

3. Have Your Say

A Public Consultation was held during August and September 2017.

We wanted to gauge support for the project’s outline proposals and find out what you value most about the cemetery, how you currently use the space and your views on the potential improvements, alongside ideas for volunteering schemes.

*You told us that the best features of the cemetery are: Heritage, Tranquility, Public Open Space, Monuments & Mausolea *There was significant interest in volunteering opportunities, particularly within Heritage and Conservation, and the introduction of a brand new activities programme that focuses on community events, tours, exhibitions and displays *You want to see the restoration of St Stephens Chapel, better access to the cemetery via a secondary entrance and strongly support plans for a new visitor centre within the existing Lodge building

The full consultation report is available to view online

There will be another opportunity to take part in a further round of consultation in Spring 2018; details to follow here and on our website.

Emailing the Project Team

4. Project Partners

Lambeth Council are working in partnership with the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery, alongside local residents and other local stakeholders, so as to secure the investment and deliver the anticipated community benefits.

Friends of West Norwood Cemetery logo

To find out more about the Cemetery and the work of the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery, visit the FOWNC website

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To find out more about the Heritage Lottery Fund, visit the HLF website